IHS students get a look at surgery on the big screen

Published 10:15 am Thursday, October 14, 2010

If you walked by the Ironton High School auditorium on Wednesday morning, you may have thought some students were observing a carpentry or woodshop demonstration.

Sounds of drilling, sawing and hammering could be heard.

Upon entering the auditorium, a large display screen showed not a carpentry lecture, but a total knee replacement surgery.

Email newsletter signup

The surgery was streamed live to 53 IHS students as well as other schools across Ohio from Mt. Carmel East Hospital in Columbus.

Kimberly Kelly, anatomy and physiology teacher at IHS, said that her three classes watch these surgeries every year.

“It’s a good experience for them,” said Kelly. “This is the first year we’ve gotten to watch it on a screen this large.”

Kelly said that the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) provides the classes with materials to get the students familiar with the terms and surgical equipment associated with the surgery.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Chambers performed the knee replacement on a 63-year-old man’s right, arthritic knee.

The students watched as Chambers opened the man’s skin with a scalpel and exposed the bones to be replaced. They watched as he shaped and trimmed the femoral and tibial bones with saws to allow for the prosthetic knee to fit properly. They also saw him remove bone spurs caused by arthritis and the shaping of the patella.

“I liked it,” said IHS senior Andy Holtzapfel. “I thought it was cool when they were trimming the bones.”

There was a bit of grimacing and groaning from the students as they watched. A few students had to leave and come back, said Kelly.

“I didn’t think it was disgusting,” said junior Kelsey Hackworth. “It was interesting.

Kelsey said she is very interested in anatomy and wants to pursue a career in the medical field.

Chambers tested the prosthetic components before he affixed the permanent prosthetic knee. As if he were frosting a cupcake, Dr. Chambers applied the cement that holds the pieces together.

“I get to help people move better and have less pain,” Dr. Chambers said about why he likes being a surgeon.

Kelly said that interactive learning like this allows students to make more educated choices about their future career paths, especially in the medical field.

“It gives them the opportunity to see if that’s truly what they’re cut out for,” she said.

There are also more hands-on opportunities on the way for Kelly’s students. In December, her Anatomy II class will participle in Pre-Med Day at Shawnee State University with a cadaver lab. Her Anatomy I class will be doing dissections of cats and other animal organs.

Kelly said that the dissections are optional, but she asks the students to at least give it a try.

“Science is very hands-on,” she said. “It needs to be.”